The mind golf secrets the golf equipment industry does not want you to hear


When people write about the top professionals, they tend to talk about the externally visible aspect of their game – their swing technique. Those same writers rarely tell you about the golf mind golf secrets of those same professionals.

So what about Jack Nicklaus and 90% of golf in the mind?

When I started out in golf in the late 60’s I recall hearing Jack Nicklaus talk on TV about golf being 90% in the mind. However, when I eagerly read his first book, The Greatest Game of All published in 1969, I found very little information about golf psychology. In fact, two thirds of the book was biographical and the remaining third was about the golf swing. Maybe that was what the public wanted to hear or what Herbert Warren Wind, his co-writer, wanted to write about. There wasn’t any more about golf psychology in Jack’s Golf My Way published 5 years later.

Surely Ben Hogan’s secret was about swing mechanics?

I only recently found a similar contradiction about Ben Hogan in an article I read somewhere online. Now I got interested in Ben’s ideas a few year’s back when I first bought my Explanar swing trainer. I had a series of lessons with its inventor Luther Blacklock up at Woburn Golf and Country Club. Now Luther is a real advocate of Ben Hogan’s swing technique and has published a well thought out instructional DVD called The Lost Fundamentals of Hogan. Luther demonstrates these lost fundamentals while looking like, swinging and dressing exactly like the great man.

So what was the contradiction? Well, the article I read suggested that according to Bob Rotella, one of the golf psychology greats, he interviewed Ben Hogan shortly before Hogan’s death in 1997 and asked what Hogan’s real swing secret was. Hogan told Rotella that the technical secret was something to do with how he cupped his wrist at the top of backswing.

Hogan went on to say that the real secret to his starting to win major championships came when he eliminated all swing thoughts from his tournament play and focussed instead on imagination and instinct. I would describe that as trusting his unconscious mind. Hogan added that he only told people about his swing secrets because that’s what they wanted to hear about.

Well what about other top professionals

So how many other top professionals are being similarly misrepresented in this way? Two that I’ve played with, a long time ago admittedly, are Tony Jacklin, in a fourball in 1970, and Nick Faldo, in an open amateur competition called The Hertfordshire Stag at Moor Park back in 1976 – just before he turned pro. Oh I am a name dropper, aren’t I. Tony talked a lot about his cocoon of concentration when he won his majors, but most of what I’ve read about him refers to his swing and his life in general. There’s very little said about his mental strength and golf psychology techniques.

When I played with Nick Faldo, he was very impressive mentally and no one who saw him winning tournaments and major championships would doubt his mental strength and focus., However, at the time all the media focus was on his swing change and everyone was surprised when he appointed a golf psychologist to help with the Ryder Cup team when he was captain.

Even with Tiger Woods, and no I haven’t played with him, we here more about his swing and prodigious length off the tee than his amazing mental resilience, his obvious use of self-hypnosis and the fact that he’s had a mind coach from a very early age in Jay Brunza.

So who’s suppressing the mind golf secrets?

For some reason the golfing media doesn’t think it’s that important to promote golf psychology as the secret of golf success. I wonder if the golf equipment manufacturers want you to know about that secret either.

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